Marriage Builders®
Posted By: Zai Can I learn to love my fiancé? - 07/29/21 06:02 PM
Hello everyone, I’m new here!

I feel so silly asking this, but I recently got engaged to my boyfriend of 3 and a half years, but immediately afterwards I started having immense bouts of anxiety, stress, and depression over whether I actually loved him or not, if I was making a terrible mistake. This was a month ago, and while the anxiety has gotten better, it has still left me shaken and doubting if my feelings were ever “love”.
We never really had a “honeymoon phase” and do not have great sexual chemistry (he struggles to perform as well, but honestly I don’t mind this very much as my libido isn’t terribly high). The lack of honeymoon phase makes me afraid the foundation for real love was never set because I never had that initial burst of feel good chemicals in the brain to associate with him!

I was only ever in love once before, in highschool, and that crashed and burned spectacularly. My fiancé is my first and only sexual experience and real “adult” relationship. (I am currently 24 and he is 30)

Despite this, I desperately want to marry him. I genuinely think he is an amazing man and I would be a complete fool for letting him go! He is kind, sweet, generous, patient, loving, affectionate, and provides for my every need. I love to cuddle him and be near him, and I generally have a good time when we go for trips together, but we do have issues with maintaining conversations, which can be difficult for me.

I want to marry this man with every fiber of my being, but I worry I am making a mistake or being selfish. I feel nauseous and break out in tears when I imagine a life without him, I do not want to let him go, but I worry the correct love feelings aren’t there!

Am I foolish for hoping to ignite this between us? Is it possible for us?

Edit: I also worry about being too inexperienced or young to make this decision, but I know that my life is better with him in it and I do not want to let him go at all, so those feelings generally override any concerns I have over not having “played the field” enough, so to speak!
Posted By: SugarCane Re: Can I learn to love my fiancé? - 07/29/21 10:25 PM
Welcome to MB.

I wouldn't express it as "learning" to love your fiancé; I would say that you can fall in love, and stay in love, with him. For this to happen, though, he has to do the things that make you fall in love. You cannot make this happen by your actions alone.

I don't think it would be fair for you to marry him knowing that you don't love him, and not giving him a chance to work with you on creating love. He can't be expected to know that love is missing if you don't tell him, and he can't do anything about it if he doesn't know.

Please read a summary of Dr Harley's Basic Concepts, so that you can understand the link between the feeling of romantic love, and emotional needs. Then ask your fiancé to read it.

It seems that your fiancé meets a number of important emotional needs for you, but not the rights ones, or enough of the right ones, to create the feeling of romantic love on your part. If you can identify what needs are not being met, or that could be better met, you can ask him to work on these.
Posted By: living_well Re: Can I learn to love my fiancé? - 07/29/21 10:39 PM
Welcome to MB. You ask 'can I learn to love my fiancé?' and the short answer is yes, you can. But the question you should really be asking is 'should I learn to love my fiancé?'. Dr Harley has been giving great advice on how to find the right person to marry for many years. Most of it is right on this site and available for free. You might want to start here Choosing the right person to marry You will notice that he advises casually dating at least 30 different men to discover both your emotional needs and also what emotional needs you can easily fulfill in others.

Getting married is easy, staying married is what is hard. By far the easiest way to start a happy married life is to find someone that easily and effortlessly meets your emotional needs. Take a look here The most important emotional needs They are not the same for everyone but generally women have conversation pretty close to the top and it sounds as if that, plus sexual fulfillment are not being met in this relationship.

Once you have looked at those links, come back to us with your questions. Best of luck to you
Posted By: Zai Re: Can I learn to love my fiancé? - 07/29/21 11:55 PM
Do I have to date 30 men before I decide? I think my current partner would be a wonderful husband- he has always supported me when I am sad, scared, sick, or afraid to take the next move on something. He comforts me and allows me a place of security, safety, and warmth, which I place in high regard for myself at this time.

I think Intimate Conversation and Sexual Fulfillment would be where we need the most work. However, sometimes I find it difficult to concentrate or connect with what he is talking about. I don’t know how to put my all into being genuinely interested in it!

We have had good conversations before, and I definitely feel it when we do, but they are generally few and far between. Despite all of this, I still believe him to be the man I want to marry due to how amazing of a provider he is, and how well I am treated. Is there any way I can bridge the gaps now, or do I have to just accept a lack of stimulating conversation in exchange for a reliable partner?
Posted By: Zai Re: Can I learn to love my fiancé? - 07/29/21 11:59 PM
I’m not sure that I don’t love him- the question of loving him never really came up until the proposal (which I knew was going to happen and helped design the ring myself), so I was incredibly distraught when the anxiety came seemingly from nowhere.

We don’t have very many interests in common, which makes conversation hard, but I still adore just being near him physically and cuddling up to him at night. He is worth trying to piece things together after getting married to me, and he makes my life better!

We do struggle to have engaging conversations, which makes me feel disconnected, but he is so kind, sweet, and attentive otherwise, I don’t want to let him go at all! Is there anything I can do to resolve this without having to break up or call off the engagement? I do care for him and love him dearly, I just worry the love isn’t the “right kind” so to speak.
Posted By: SugarCane Re: Can I learn to love my fiancé? - 07/30/21 01:21 AM
Originally Posted by Zai
Is there anything I can do to resolve this without having to break up or call off the engagement? I do care for him and love him dearly, I just worry the love isn’t the “right kind” so to speak.

If you read my post again, you'll see that I suggested talking to him about the problem and asking him to read the Basic Concepts article (and you would both need to read the follow-up posts on the individual concepts). I said that you can't expect him to know that love is missing if you don't tell him, and he can't do anything about the problem if he does not know about it. I did not say that your only option is to break up with him.

You seem stuck on the idea the lack of love is your problem to solve - that you alone need to learn how to love him. I'm trying to get you to see things differently.

If he was clearly not the right person for you - if he met few or none of your emotional needs - I would tell you to let him go and keep dating until you find the right person. However, I'm going by what you told me, which is that there is much about him that you find very appealing and that you do not want to lose those qualities.

I reiterate that you should not marry him if you do not feel romantic love for him. If you try to focus on all his good points knowing that some essential needs are not being met for you, you will end up being unhappy, and probably very quickly. It will be very unpleasant for you to be married to someone - to have to live with him every day and sleep with him every night - feeling that there is an important lack in your relationship. Pretty soon his good qualities won't be enough, and his inability to hold conversations with you will drive you to hate him. We've seen wife after wife on this board, married for some years to what they describe as a "good man", and listing all his qualities, while stating that the particular need that the husband is not fulfilling has driven them to depression and misery. That is a terrible place to be, and I warn you will all my strength not to walk into that situation.

The alternative to breaking up with him or calling off the engagement is to ask him to read the articles and work with you on meeting your emotional needs. If he is willing to do that at this stage, that is a good sign that he will listen to your complaints when you are married, and work on maintaining love in your marriage. If he refuses to read the articles or work on the issue now, that would not bode well for marriage and you should certainly not marry him.
Posted By: SugarCane Re: Can I learn to love my fiancé? - 07/30/21 01:46 AM
Originally Posted by Zai
He is worth trying to piece things together after getting married to me...

Oh, no, no no. What you're really saying is that you should go through with the marriage now, with this big problem clearly apparent, and then after you are married you would try to "piece things together". "Piecing things together' is a terrible way to describe what your married life would be like. Do you want a marriage of "piecing things together" (which won't create love), or do you want a marriage of romantic love?

Romantic love should be effortless for an engaged couple, and so should conversation. You haven't yet had years of living together; just learning about each other should take up a lot of your conversation. Going on dates should give you plenty to talk about. People usually complain about conversation being boring after many years of marriage. There should be no problem with it before marriage has even begun!

How did you come to be engaged if you have little in common? What led you to a second, tenth and fiftieth date with each other? Women often fall for men because while a man is trying to pursue a woman, he talks to her, listens to her, shows her that he finds her fascinating, and most importantly, talks to her about her, about the things that she finds interesting. He turns on the charm, as it were. If your fiancé didn't do this for you, how did you get so far as being engaged to him?

Your fiancé could learn to be a much better conversationalist when he is with you. Dr Harley talks about men needing to learn about their wives (fiancée in your case) and talk about the things that interest them. The things that interest men when they talk to each other are not the same as those that interest women, and if a man wants to meet a woman's emotional need for intimate conversation (a primary need much more for women than for men) they need to work on their skills. That is what I'm suggesting your fiancé learns to do - but he can't know that he needs to do this if you don't tell him that there is a problem.

You've mentioned his qualities, but they seem to boil down to being good to snuggle up to, and being sweet and attentive - but you could get all those qualities from a puppy. Is there anything about him that makes you tingle inside?
Posted By: Zai Re: Can I learn to love my fiancé? - 07/30/21 04:14 AM
As far as things that make me “tingle” inside go, not too much sexually, but occasionally it will! It doesn’t happen all the time, but certain times in which he is being particularly attentive to me in bed, or when I wake up and stroke his face when he is asleep beside me, or even when he makes a teasing joke that’s just right and makes me laugh super hard. I’d say those are definite “tingle” points, or points when I feel very connected to him.

For what brought us together, it was more of a conscious decision based on the fact that we enjoyed being with each other and had fun when we were together. I thought he was dorky in a cute way and very smart and we really liked being together. We didn’t have a honeymoon phase, though I was infatuated with him for a time before we met in person (it was long distance online originally).

We just gradually sort of grew our connection with one another until I ended up living with him this past year. We typically have a good time together (when I’m not anxious) and go together like we’ve been with one another forever, basically. Is that okay? I worry that isn’t enough for romantic love, because it lacked the sparks stage, but I still love being affectionate to him and I do enjoy when we are physically intimate.

Edit: I think part of the reason why communication and connecting with conversation has been difficult may be because while I have been at his apartment, I basically stay inside all day and wait for him to come back. No classes, job, or other people I talk to here. I think I am leaning on him too much for all of my stimulation and discussion needs, while generally having no topics to pull from myself because I don’t really do anything all day…
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